Attitude of Gratitude, Powerless Over Pride

Step 1: Powerless Over Pride

We all seem to have one thing in common; no one likes to be wrong. Some more than others, but no one is ever really happy when they are mistaken. And probably the only thing worse than being wrong is being told that we’re wrong. I hope you can see that when this happens, it is just a person’s ego being challenged. It is pride plain and simple. Everyone has this in them to some degree and without an awareness of it, we are powerless over it. Now please know that powerlessness is not weakness. It is just not being able to control something.

When someone reacts and resists this way in personal matters, often it’s because they feel like they are being wrongly attacked. When someone is told that they are wrong they may not just feel bad. They may also believe that they are bad because being told that we are wrong challenges what we believe, and many times identity even comes into question.

A person repeatedly being told that they are wrong questions their knowledge, their beliefs, and truth as they know it. Because of this, many will fight emotionally, and even sometimes physically, to prove that they are right. It really is no exaggeration to say that it scares people when their worldview is in question.

Of course it is perfectly fine, even critical, to ask important questions. To ask real questions that will improve the quality of life for yourself. To find and strip away what is true, and untrue, about the power of the illusion of control. Why? Truth is what will provide the wisdom needed for humility to grow and for the foolish pride that kills a person’s soul to diminish.

Truths are really not too difficult to understand once they are uncovered. The challenge is to discover them. And that is what the 12 Steps are for; discovering truths about the thoughts and actions that block you from goodness and greatness. This blockage is what is making you restless, irritable and discontent.

Your growing dissatisfaction with your old worn out ways of being and your underlying frustration with the day-in day-out grind of “ordinary” life is a clear sign that you’re ready to make this shift and consciously engage in the process of self-actualization. But without a specific way to the see the complete blueprint of what is possible in your life, you will perpetually remain stuck and blocked off from who you were created to be. By doing the 12 Steps you are being prepared to actualize your full potential- which is something that’s really way too difficult to grasp all at once. Certainly not just yet.

Attitude of Gratitude, I Just Don’t Want You To Give Up

Step 2: I Just Don’t Want You To Give Up

(Below is part of a conversation between two friends, sent via email. Although the previous communications do have value, just the following paragraphs are placed here in the interest of keeping your attention focused on the point we would like to emphasis.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 9:47 AM

So sorry to have taken this long to get back. The weekend was a blur and yesterday was no better. But writing back to you has priority this day.

I completely understand all your disclaimers in this and your other post that you’re not pushing any particular worldview/philosophy and just expressing what is. I guess I’m trying to get you to reconsider something you embraced once and through the hurts and disappointments of the intervening years have put aside. I did a sermon a while back where I quoted Chuang Tzu (got a few more raised eyebrows on my sheet for that).

“You cannot speak of ocean to a well frog, the creature of a narrower sphere. You cannot speak of ice to a summer insect, the creature of a single season.” To which I added: “How can you speak of perfect love to a human being, the creature of a broken heart?”

The wounding that we all receive at the hands of life, the experience we have of imperfect love being practiced all around us and to us is a lethal combination in terms of making it extremely difficult for us to believe in something so completely other than our senses tell us is real. If it’s too good to be true, it generally is. I had a mentor years ago, very influential in my life, a Catholic priest with very liberal views. When I started to object to a particular view of his based on my understanding of Scripture, he just held up his hand and stopped me saying, “All I can tell you is what I’ve become convinced of. You go become convinced of what you are convinced of.” At the time, I thought it was a cop out. Now I realize it’s the only answer we can give each other.

There is no rational way to God. God is not rational by definition because he occupies a dimension outside of the one in which our laws of rationality exist. Getting to God takes a radical break with rationality at the point where rationality runs out, trails off. The church has always tried to drive people to God’s love through the fear of punishment. Do this or else. That’s an impossibility. You can’t get to love through fear. As Yoda might say, fear only leads to more fear and to separation and to suffering. Never to love. To get to love, you have to make that same sort of radical break with fear that you do with rationality to get to God/love/unity. Fear is rational. We have a lot to be afraid of. At some point you make a break and go become convinced of something you can’t prove, but know is true. And then the kicker is, you can’t transfer that knowing, that convincedness to anyone else. It’s yours alone. No one can abdicate that responsibility of going and becoming convinced to anyone else. No one can do it for us. We all have ruby slippers on, but the witch can’t tell us about them–we have to find out for ourselves. Enough illustrations there?

A few months ago, when I was still Associate Pastor at CMC, I was driving to church by myself one Sunday morning. It was one of those beautiful beyond words mornings with the sun just cresting the open hills, and I was lost in the moment, driving along. Then this thought hit me. What if this really is all there is? This beautiful little planet we scurry around on in the black of space for a while and then die. Nothing after that. What if? And here I’ve spent so much of my life dedicated to a different proposition. You don’t think we all have doubts from time to time? I think anyone who doesn’t, isn’t thinking very deeply about life. But then my very next thought was, but Jesus believed, and assurance returned. Because I don’t believe that Jesus came from nothing, or the love that he expressed is random. It’s not a rational belief. We can rationally say that it’s a biological imperative that drives us to mutually beneficial relationship that looks like love, but when, based on the hunch of my belief, I was willing to take that radical break with rationality, I got a glimpse of something that convinced me, as it has billions of others. And now, convinced, I realize that there is no better way to live, regardless of what may come next. And there’s no going back.

I’m not too interested anymore in any particular world views, theologies, or philosophies, except in how they direct the conversation toward deeper things. Theology is simply our attempt to explain the unexplainable, and so is, again by definition, rife with error. No one has it right, no one can get it all right. The really important things can be apprehended by a child. That’s the beauty of it. I now am convinced that until we’re willing to lay down everything we think we know and begin to entertain things we can’t explain or prove, we will always live in the wells of our own construction, like the well frog. Our seeing limited by the walls of what we can already explain and understand. Lifting ourselves up over the edge to get that glimpse of ocean takes the radical break.

I’d ask you to remember your time with Karen. She made you believe something, not by trying, but because of who she was and how you loved her for it. It wasn’t rational, but you simply accepted it. In fact, it was the rational part, the fear part, that chipped away at the relationship until it was gone. The hurt of that loss has never left you, but that should give some hope, too. Because the hurt, the loneliness is the reminder that there’s something else that is possible, no? I’m convinced of a personal God of unity, not because anyone tried to convince me (though they did), but because the unity/love I have experienced with others led me to take a leap, a risk that allowed me to glimpse that ocean. You might think that it’s all over for you in terms of love or relationship, but you’re wrong, unless that’s the reality you accept. Yes, you’re weird, as you say, but we all are to some degree. And we all have idiosyncrasies that inhibit our interactions with others. If yours are more severe than some, they are less so than others.

I’ve a friend in England who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Have you ever heard of that? It makes many of the simple social norms and interplay we take for granted very difficult or impossible to maintain. I don’t know if you have some of that in you, you might look into it. My friend is a deep believer in God from a Jewish tradition, but he spends much of his time alone. No wife, roommates. He says it’s lonely, but he does force himself to go to synagogue, to work, to the internet cafe. Some of the interaction is exhausting, but he tries. He’s one of the wisest men I know, and though he’s a few years younger than me, I’ve learned a great deal from him.

I don’t know how your life will go, of course. I just don’t want you to give up. If you’re happy in your lifestyle, then there’s nothing to fix, even if there is some loneliness or other flies in the ointment. It’s not for me to say your life needs changing just because it’s not mainstream or like mine. It only needs changing if you know it does, because you long for something else or something more. If so, then I’m trying to show you there’s a way through whatever fear or pain is keeping you down or holding you back. Don’t hide behind your intelligence or rational concepts. Be willing to risk all that stuff you won’t miss anyway for something you might think has passed you by. Let Karen still guide you the way she once did. I remember you back then, buddy. There was a light in you that you probably thought (and probably still do) that she lit in you. But it really wasn’t her. It was your love for her that lit you up. Find a reason to love again, and it will light you up again. It’s the love and the unity we feel with our beloveds that light us up. It comes from within, just as Jesus said the Kingdom comes. It’s possible any and every moment, Chris.

Thanks for all the kind words you said about me in the last post. I love you too. But my stone is not yet smooth, either. You asked what I needed from you. In terms of music, if we can work together and create some great vibrations in the air, that would be wonderful at some point, but not for their own sake. Maybe through the work, we can help each other smooth out some of the remaining edges. That’s all. Let’s keep talking.


Attitude of Gratitude, Can You Just Let God Love You

Step 3: Can You Just Let God Love You?

My bottom was not when I came into AA and stopped drinking. Frankly, at the time entered into AA, my desire wasn’t so much to stop getting drunk ever night but to stop being miserable. And it worked for a while. I was proud that I could do this. Never before had I managed to stay sober for so long. But over time that happiness faded away. I was still making mistakes; continuing on with the same way of thinking and acting. The only thing that had really changed was that I wasn’t putting alcohol into my body. Well there was one other thing that changed- I was much more angry at myself than ever before because no longer could the blackout drinking be blamed as the cause for the bad behavior.

At about 7 or 8 months of abstinence, suicide was becoming more and more of an option (as it was before when I was drinking heavily). Thoughts and feelings where really too much to deal with. Regrets, shame, guilt, self-loathing all overwhelmed me. Its no wonder people relapse. But this was way worse. It was either going to be a quick death by my own hand, or a slow torturous one drinking. And because I was intent on doing so, I didn’t tell anyone. Then I would have to talk about it. Maybe even do some counseling, which of course would mean repeatedly bringing up what I wanted to deny. Escape seemed to be the easiest and simplest way to avoid any more pain.

Now you may be thinking, why doesn’t this guy go to AA? Well, again, I was. They had been helpful enough that I hadn’t gone back to the bottle but I was still resisting. I just wasn’t ready. Yes, I had fully conceded to myself that I was an alcoholic- or so I thought. I mean I really knew that I couldn’t drink like a normal person. Fighting the program was more about me still thinking I could do this on my own. Picking and choose what worked for me from the meetings and leaving the rest. I even heard someone say that’s the way its done- ‘Take what you want an leave the rest’! Oh Man! It appeared that I was really way more hopeless than I imagined when I came into the group.

So during all this I met a guy that had been pretty successful doing this deal. He went from being a heroin addict to being a husband, a home owner, being an Imagineer at Disneyland. And most of all, he was happy with himself! He had wisdom when I spoke of my problems. He helped people. He had something that I wanted. Success.

So I hung around him hoping that I could figure out what he had found that set him apart. And after a while, he realized that I hated myself. So he asked me a question: “If you can’t love yourself, can you let God love you?”

Really? He had to go there? But I was desperate enough, I knew that I couldn’t continue on doing it my way anymore. Then he got me with another question. One that was to change me forever: “Can you let God love you through this fellowship?”

Looking back, I now realize that I was trying to fight my problems. To win the battle and come out a champion -like a hero in some action movie making a glorious comeback. Now that I have relinquished my right to be right more than just a few times, what I seek is not gained by being strong and independent. It’s manifested itself by being humble and interdependent with others around me. I am now willing to let God help me through letting people help me. I gave up the right to be always right and because of that my life has change for the better.

I like who I am even though I well aware of my shortcomings. I don’t hate others when they display their short comings because I don’t take it personally. What they do is more about them than me but how I respond is always more about me than them. And when I make mistakes I look at it as an opportunity to grow instead of it being a display of me being a failure. Because I am not a loser and I am not crazy. I am blessed with an awareness that God is with me no matter what I do or don’t do. I am loved unconditionally. And you are too. If you doubt it, just be willing to let God love on you. How much love is received is proportional to how much we allow it. It what way it that comes, well that’s just not in our control. So my how much love, mercy and forgiveness I have bestowed upon me is based on how much I surrender my need for control.

A friend once said that the warm sun and the big blue sky are always there regardless of how many clouds are blocking me from seeing it. And of course no one can control the weather, but we can relax and allow the storm to pass while I get my work done.

Attitude of Gratitude, Shine A Light On It

Step 4: Shine A Light On It

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry isn’t very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs a better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same type comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.” The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look. except in real life, no one can clean the windows we see through. That’s no one else’s job but yours.

The 4th Step is about shining some light into the areas of your life that you would prefer to keep hidden in the shadows. It’s a process that will illuminate the hidden influences and blind spots that have sabotaged your development. Based upon doing this exercise personally and leading other through it too, I have come to believe that hidden deep beneath our conscious personality are layers of thoughts and feelings that can inhibit our development by causing us to avoid aspects of our experience or by encouraging damaging addictions. The personal inventory brings to the surface how all this is hidden in the shadows and the effects it has had upon your life and on the lives of others.

The 4th Step is an incredibly effective and powerful way to identify your character defects and transform them into valuable assets. All the Steps up to this point have been decisions – this is the beginning of getting into action and really doing the deal. And frankly it where many do stop. Often because they misunderstand what the purpose is. The inventory is not about anything but gaining clarity to the causes and conditions that have brought you to this point in your life so you can make an informed decision. Then you present what you have found to an objective person who can bring it all into a better focus. Then you can decide what you want to do next.

You may think you know yourself now. And you probably do know a lot. But millions of people who have done the personal inventory have discovered so much more about themselves. It’s how they begin to let go of thoughts and feelings that have blocked you from becoming the best person you can possibly be.

Attitude of Gratitude, Hope Versus Expectations

Step 5: Hope Versus Expectation

What is the difference between hope and an expectation? Expectation is founded in ego and Hope is a product of Humility.

Long ago, without even knowing it, I started building my masks as a matter of survival. It was a result of me having the ability to read people, and situations, and then showing you the mask I thought would best serve me in the moment so I could get by. It worked pretty well too. The problem was that it worked well enough that I adopted it as a valuable skill set. When I was aware of myself acting this way, it seemed like it was working but upon consideration now, somewhere along the way, I forgot who I really was. Actually, I didn’t want to remember. No, I couldn’t show the world any aspect of the real me because the world surely wouldn’t like me, because I didn’t like me. So I kept the appropriate mask on for as long as possible; Hiding the hideous monster that I believed was within. The trouble was that the characters I portrayed became a dominate part of me. So many masks were worn that I was virtually a troop of entertainers. The freak I believed that I was actually became a self fulfilling prophecy. I was feeling worthless due to misjudging my value in the first place.

The trouble was that I could never feel like I fit in without wearing a costume, and performing some kind of act. It wasn’t until my inventory was shared that I realized that, and the consequences of being that way too. Now I have a choice to believe that I am acceptable just being myself. I can now be alone, or with others, and be at peace.

There is no denying that this step is humbling. It produces an understanding of who we really are, and is the first action step toward becoming who we may just really be. This new found humility is the beginning of removing the need for the barriers that we have built up over the years to protect ourselves from being hurt. And as we develop genuine humility, then our self-esteem becomes more and more unshakable.

You really do have the power to turn your wounds and worries into wisdom; you just have to do something about them! So perhaps your worst battle has been between what you know and what you feel. If that’s true, you have to accept what has happened and use what you’ve learned to step forward. Knowing, recognizing and accepting your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness’s of other people. So everything you’ve ever experienced has given you what’s needed for dealing with everything you have yet to experience! Realize this and you will have begun to set yourself free.

Attitude of Gratitude, Discovering Who I Really Am

Step 6: Discovering Who I Really Am

“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.“

Possibly the most important words right now are “just let it happen to you”. Let the feelings about your new found awareness flow but not control. Let thoughts come but don’t hold too tightly to any idea about anything. You are moving out of a role you have taken on and are now growing into the True Self.

God is not truthful but Truth itself. And wherever there is truth, there is God. By now you should realize that there are many things that are relatively true at certain times and places only, but God is absolute Truth at all times and in all circumstances. As soon as we touch God, who is the Absolute, relative things slip away. So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you. “ – John 8:31-32 MSG

Attitude of Gratitude, Perception Is Reality

Step 7: Perception Is Reality

Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson once said, “All our experiences are but lessons in some form or another which condition us for our larger destiny. Of that I am sure. Any way you look at it, it’s a problem world. What matters, and what matters only is what we do with our problems”

Please take a moment and write down your core beliefs in one sentence and put it in a safe place so you can look at it some time in the future. You’ll know why you did this when you read that sentence you composed later on in your life.

Ultimately the importance of the thoughts and the words of a person are always qualified by the life lived. How you do life is your real and final truth, not what ideas you believe. Not the words you say. Not just the decisions you make but the actions that you do. Truth becomes a state of being, so how you do life is your real truth.

Please look from now on at each difficulty you encounter as training to enable you to acquire peace of mind and joy within. Your sins, your character defects, are not good or bad. They are a means to revealing Truth; taking the subjective awareness into an objective conciseness that accepts everything. The secret of life is hidden in experiencing the love and mercy of God. Not just thinking about or talking about The Spirit, but living in a manner that carries only an expectation that God is everywhere and every when. Your character defects have been what has clouded you awareness of this. And that is what has ultimately been the root of many of struggles you have experienced. Perception is reality.

He is all that creates and allows for life. All life. Your life. Let go of all that has harmed you and others. Allow God to be God. To actualize in your life so you can be all your where created to be before you made choices that resulted in harm. Let go and you will be amazed over and over and over and over and over again.


Attitude of Gratitude, Worry Is Misuse Of The Imagination

Step 8: Worry Is Misuse Of The Imagination

I was concerned about what was going to happen next. In my mind, I was going to have to look a few people in eye that I never wanted to see. My friend smiled, nodded his head and said, ‘It’s really pretty simple. There is no need to make it any more complicated than this, make a list and become willing.

Willingness. Yes, I got all wrapped up in the guilt and shame of the past. My head was thinking way too much. Imagining all kinds of things.

Our friend above was doing what many of us have done all too often getting ahead of the situation. It’s just all too easy to let the fear create a mental movie of what was going to happen. So we did what we thought any person would do, we avoided the problem. But for us, that was the real problem. Avoiding what we didn’t want to deal with. We had get past this liability or we would continue to be handicapped by our fear driven imagination.

I got through all my worries and made the list and eventually I got right with people. I did what thought I could never do before; face up to what I was ashamed of. The difference now from before was that I had tapped into the Power that could make an amends possible and because of this, I have come to rely on this Power in all of my affairs. Really. You see, I would have never known how real God is unless I had done this step. True faith will result in works of faith and will keep faith alive. For my faith to be life giving I must act upon it. Otherwise it’s just a nice pleasant idea.

By acting upon our faith we acquire spiritual experience for it is extremely important for faith not to be an intellectual exercise. We each must reestablish our lives upon a spiritual basis if we are to live a life of meaning and purpose. Being guided by, and acting upon the principles of love of God and the love of our fellows, our actions bring our faith to life.

In the 8th Step, you will use the names from your personal inventory, however, you may also need to include some others. This is why reflection is the principle of this Step. We have to be honest if we want to live in the Truth. Your appraisal in this amends is of yourself, not the other person. So if there is even a thought that there is cause for an amends, you should add that person to our list. That may seem extreme but it is just a list made in the same way we learned in the fourth Step. If a person come stop mind, write their name down. Don’t over think this; You are not doing anything other than reflecting on the past and writing a list.

You see, this denial of damage done has been the root of our suffering; the manifestation of our character defects that has led to the perpetuating of a lie that we were innocent. We thought of ourselves as victims when we were not. We shifted the blame to another when it was actually ours. We lived a lie but subconsciously we knew that we had played some part in the problem. You may have done the same. So write the list!

Attitude of Gratitude, Choice Not Chance

Step 9: Choice Not Chance

It’s Choice Not Chance That Determines Your Destiny

Life is hard. There are so many things that are beyond our control, and often that leads to feeling like a victim or at least it did for me. Because of that, there still are some unresolved issues that continue to surface in my life. Fortunately, I now know that this is just an indication that more healing is needed. Of course as much as I have said that, focusing on the pain only makes it worse. Friends told me that I really have to do something about it, and I am really trying but these emotions still mess me up. I know in my head that no one needs to be enslaved by their feelings or the feelings of others, but still.

When my personal inventory was done, the resentment that was at the top of the list was me. I hated myself for what I had and hadn’t done. Basically there was no self-esteem left. So, when I began making amends, it seemed only natural that I should be the first on that list too. (It was natural to think this way because the selfishness was still so deeply embedded inside me.)

My spiritual guide at the time reminded me that the amends to myself was in the process of making amends to others. He said that if I wanted self-esteem, I must do esteem-able acts. To back up his point, he opened up the Bible and went to the first book of John, chapter 3, verses 18 through 20.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”

I asked that he read that again. He did, and I just sat there in silence. He did too. In that moment it seemed like all our time together led up to this and created a moment of clarity my perspective had been changed. Big time.

True Christianity, the kind that I deeply desire, is characterized by a love in which there is no fear. Despite what the past had presented, there was no reason to continue feeling, thinking, and acting like I had before. No longer will there be any empty promises and boasts of what will be. By the grace of God, now I can chose to live in the Truth and live in this moment without fear and loathing.

Yes, I was hurt, and yes, I am afraid that I may hurt again. Yes, I was concerned about what may happen. I still am at times. My character defect of denial had created a picture of me being a victim or at the least being innocent some of the times. All my life I had said that these where not excuses, that there are explanations on why the past happened as it did. Never again will I ruin an apology with an excuse.

So after what seemed like an eternity of silence, my trusted friend then just smiled and reminded once again – ‘It’s not if it’s right, not if it’s wrong, but is it true.”

Nothing I could say or think could deny this. My pattern of arguing to prove myself had been broken. My feelings had controlled me subtly and the only way to change this was just like the previous steps taken, I had to take direction, get into action and stop procrastinating.

I’m not sure what happened next, but sponsors do seem to say what’s needed at exactly the right time. Maybe they just prepare us for God to sneak in and change us. Whatever it was, it affected me greatly then and still does to this day. All he said was: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It is really that simple. I have now cast away all the other thoughts and just keep it simple…and change has happened. I know that I am acceptable. I know that everyone is. None are greater or lesser than another. Because of this awareness, no longer do I need to be better than others. We all are doing the best we can, regardless if we know it or not. I know these things now because I did my 9th step. Life really begins when the fear ends.

Please don’t delay making your amends as long as I did. Please. Just start doing what you know is the right thing to do today and the feelings will follow. Don’t wait. Action ignites motivation.

The fact of the matter is that if we don’t change, we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Seriously. Life is a continual process of learning to live with personal integrity. Unfortunately, we imperfect souls all too often fall short. We lie to keep the peace. We refuse to try a new way to do something, not because it’s a bad idea but because it’s strange and different. We continue to carry a grudge. We’re afraid to trust a friend. These things happen, but it’s important to keep our values and goals in front of us. This is really the only way life will get better. If we keep remembering where we are trying to go and take responsibility for trying to get there, eventually we will see the day when life is different. Making your amends will help solidify this new way of living and learning. life is a continual process of learning to live with personal integrity. Unfortunately, we often fall short. We lie to keep the peace. We refuse to try a new way to do something, not because it’s a bad idea but because it’s different. We continue to carry a grudge. We’re afraid to trust our friend. These things happen, but it’s important to keep our values and goals in front of us. This is the only way life will get better. If we keep remembering where we are trying to go and take responsibility for trying to get there, eventually we will.

The amends won’t turn us into being necessarily better women and men, but it will make us more emotionally honest about who we are. They teach us that our integrity is not determined by what we say we believe. Our integrity is determined by what we understand about ourselves, what we do, how we actually live.

Attitude of Gratitude, We Are No Longer Victims

Step 10: We Are No Longer Victims

Every time you were convinced you couldn’t go on, you did. 

Someone once said that life was a lot like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as we go along.

While the goal of doing the 12 Steps is to develop compassion and achieve forgiveness, acceptance and love, it should also be our objective to accept reality and hold people accountable for their behavior. Additionally, we should also hold ourselves accountable for our own behavior while at the same time have compassion and understanding for ourselves.

The Point Is: By Working These Steps We Are No Longer Victims or Victimizers.

When we now proclaim powerlessness, we are not claiming irresponsibility. We merely stating that we have no power to control others, what they do, what they did, or what they might do. We’re stating that we are now willing to end an ineffective life based on prideful willpower and the need to control. And we’re beginning a spiritual, mental, and emotional journey in which we take responsibility for ourselves each and every day.

This phase of development is about learning more about who we really are and how we fit into the world by reviewing our character assets and liabilities at a deeper level than ever before. Observing patterns in your behavior and challenging what is perceived as normal. Studying human nature and seeing how it applies to yourself. And repeatedly testing new ideas.

As you practice this Step, over time you will agree to living in a way that is beneficial for yourself, and for others too. You may not grow to love everyone but you will no longer want to harm anyone. Including yourself.


A Attitude of Gratitude We All Need Fulfillment

Step 11: We All Need Fulfillment


Of course those of us who embark on spiritual paths are motivated in different ways. Some will want to know themselves and others want to know the secrets that unlock everything. And maybe that is the same thing but approaching it at two different angles.

Some people want transformation. Many want to alleviate suffering and affect the world in a positive manner. And then there are those of us who are looking love, inner peace, acceptance, satisfaction and happiness. We all need fulfillment in some way or another.

“There Are Two Ways To Live: You Can Live As If Nothing Is A Miracle, Or You Can Live As If Everything Is A Miracle.“  Albert Einstein

So since we have prayed before and found a way through problems, it’s very natural to return to what works. And it does. However, inspiration without an application is basically just imagination. A soul being stirred is just a mere beginning. What needs to come together is action and contemplation. Being productive gives people a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that just sitting around thinking about something can never produce. Success will inspire more dreams that lead to more success. Truly, it is not the pursuit of happiness that we find ourselves. We discover our authenticity in the happiness experienced during the pursuit.

So no matter what the reason for beginning, a meaningful life is realized when we are seeking the presence of God in each moment.

A Attitude of Gratitude New Found Awareness

Step 12: New Found Awareness

(Below is a vision that I wrote out years ago. It’s being shared because it has come true for me and I believe that some of these changes can happen for you too.)

And Then One Day: You realize that it’s time to stop hoping, dreaming and waiting for something to change. You realize that you, and only you, are responsible for the quality of your life. You come to terms with the fact that there are no guarantees and seemly without provocation, a sense of serenity is born out of this acceptance.

You become aware to the basic fact that you are not perfect (because no one is) and you learn to admit when you are wrong. You understand that it’s not important that everyone adore, appreciate or even approve of who or what you are. It’s not needed because you know in both head and heart that everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions.

This new found awareness reveals itself typically when you notice that there is no need for blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can ever really expect is the unexpected. And you are not just ok with this uncertainty, you welcome it because it is living with a Divine Expectation. This way of living is evidence of The Holy Spirit’s guidance and you allowing for it. It’s a cooperation with God for no other reason than an agreement with him.

You accept that people only do what is important to them and will never do anything they don’t really want to do. And if something offensive happens, it’s not always about you. You stop judging and look more at similarities than differences. You begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their character defects.

You realize that much of the way you viewed yourself, and the world around you, is the result of false beliefs that have been deeply imbedded into your subconscious. You begin to sort through how you have been taught how you should act, how you should look, and what you owe your family and friends. These illusions fall away and your self worth is no longer dependent on what others think. What people think of you is really none of your business; what God thinks about you is now your only business.

You open up to different points of view and you value what others think, even when its a different view point. Now, you don’t have to agree with someone to appreciate them.

As time passes, you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn that you don’t have to know everything, that it’s not your job to save the world or anyone in it. This does not mean you don’t care; just the opposite. You just now have a detached compassion for others. Through personal experience, you learn about unconditional love and when to leave well enough alone. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be.

You stop trying to control people and outcomes. You also learn that no one can do life alone. You give and receive help without any strings attached. It’s no longer about results, about what happens, but how you conduct yourself. Grace under pressure describes your responses to unforeseen events. But when you pause and realize that God has been present throughout the trial, helping and guiding, you are grateful and await to recognize this prescience again. It is glorious, refreshing, reassuring, and you want more. This is Divine Expectation!

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things do happen to good people. You learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening as it does for everyone. You can live life on life’s terms and be happy when things don’t go your way. Selfishness and self-centeredness have slipped away.

You make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your personal bliss because that is just another way of speaking of God Consciousness. With courage, wisdom, strength and self-discipline you begin to experience the life you want to live, as best you can, one day at a time.

You look forward and are hopeful. You look back and you are grateful. You look around and do your best to be useful. You are now closer to being the person you were created to be than ever before.

This is what I call my Gift.